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  1. #41
    CPSDarren - Admin SafeDad's Avatar
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    Re: Chicaco Tribune Article (3/1/09) Titled "Car seat tests reveal 'flaws'"

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Breden View Post
    I agree.

    I'm afraid the average reader will not grasp why this is though. Most consumers I encounter feel that if they follow consumer reports buying recommendations that they are subscribing to "safety ratings."

    News writers never convey (although the Tribune writer one hints at it) that "safety ratings" are of little value when they exist because variables relating to what car one is installing the restraint in and if correct installation was acheived are so numerous.

    Car safety ratings simply have less variables to contend with to establish useful baselines for the consumer.

    Now maybe some people will go read Carseatblog!

    http://carseatblog.com/?p=121

    Maybe this report will change some priorities and get us a comprehensive child seat testing system.

    It could also turn out to be like what happened with the Consumer Reports testing. Lots of hysteria about car seats that fail, only to discover that there was a major flaw in the testing. Ya never know...

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  3. #42
    CPS Technician sbreden44's Avatar
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    Re: Chicaco Tribune Article (3/1/09) Titled "Car seat tests reveal 'flaws'"

    Quote Originally Posted by CPSDarren View Post
    Now maybe some people will go read Carseatblog!

    http://carseatblog.com/?p=121

    Maybe this report will change some priorities and get us a comprehensive child seat testing system.

    It could also turn out to be like what happened with the Consumer Reports testing. Lots of hysteria about car seats that fail, only to discover that there was a major flaw in the testing. Ya never know...
    Great blog post!

    Time will tell I suppose. I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. That shoe being something that renders the results useless and prods the Trib into making some sort of "clarification/retraction".

    To be perfectly honest I'm not sure what outcome I'm rooting for.

    Parents, at least in my neck of the woods, tend to fixate on the wrong things and might take this article to mean that car seats are innately flawed so they shouldn’t focus on them at all. They may even think they should use a convertible for newborns because infant carriers have been proven dangerous. They won’t care where the convertible’s harness slots fall on their child’s shoulders. They’ll just be convinced that infant carriers are death traps. Who knows what they may extrapolate from this? Think of all the crazy things you’ve heard at check events. The writer did little to direct their fears into something positive.

    Because of this type of reaction it would be easier to simply tell parents that the test was flawed and re-focus their attentions on what we seat techs know to be important. On the other hand, an overhaul of the testing procedure is definitely in order. If the tests are proved valid, the creation of improved testing criteria might be expedited.

    BTW Illini only 2 to MSU ATM!
    Last edited by sbreden44; 03-01-2009 at 05:51 PM. Reason: ILL...INI

  4. #43
    Senior Community Member Jennifer mom to my 7's Avatar
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    Re: Chicaco Tribune Article (3/1/09) Titled "Car seat tests reveal 'flaws'"

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Breden View Post
    Great blog post!

    Time will tell I suppose. I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. That shoe being something that renders the results useless and prods the Trib into making some sort of "clarification/retraction".

    To be perfectly honest I'm not sure what outcome I'm rooting for.

    Parents, at least in my neck of the woods, tend to fixate on the wrong things and might take this article to mean that car seats are innately flawed so they shouldn’t focus on them at all. They may even think they should use a convertible for newborns because infant carriers have been proven dangerous. They won’t care where the convertible’s harness slots fall on their child’s shoulders. They’ll just be convinced that infant carriers are death traps. Who knows what they may extrapolate from this? Think of all the crazy things you’ve heard at check events. The writer did little to direct their fears into something positive.

    Because of this type of reaction it would be easier to simply tell parents that the test was flawed and re-focus their attentions on what we seat techs know to be important. On the other hand, an overhaul of the testing procedure is definitely in order. If the tests are proved valid, the creation of improved testing criteria might be expedited.

    BTW Illini only 2 to MSU ATM!

    We are already seeing it on other boards. So far they haven't looked for help yet, but the birth boards seem to be heading toward not erf because of it. I guess we will see as time goes on. But, like I said before, if the infant seats don't hold, and so much force is being exerted on the infants, what about those same 9+ month olds that are already ff.......and if they are ff at that age, do we really think they are using a top tether? scary stuff imo.
    I don't want to imagine those same forces on a ff infant.
    Whatever Wendy said

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  5. #44
    CPSDarren - Admin SafeDad's Avatar
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    Re: Chicaco Tribune Article (3/1/09) Titled "Car seat tests reveal 'flaws'"

    The concern about infant carriers separating from the base has been around for at least 10 years (the time I've been involved in CPS) and probably much longer. Every few years it seems there is a study, news story or other report questioning the safety of this type of system.

    There's no harm in buying a convertible seat and using it rear-facing, instead of an infant carrier. While some convertible models won't fit preemies or small newborns very well (some infant carriers don't either!), most older babies will fit just fine in the vast majority of convertibles. As with any child seat, try the fit to your child and vehicle before you buy it if you can. If you can't, make sure to get a good return policy.

  6. #45
    Senior Community Member Irishmama's Avatar
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    Re: Chicago Tribune Article (3/1/09) Titled "Car seat tests reveal 'flaws'"

    Quote Originally Posted by joolsplus3 View Post
    As I understand it, the rebound force is not nearly as strong as the initial crash force. And injuries to children in RF seats are so minimal that what 'looks' dramatic simply isn't.

    Carseat.org says this, "
    The first U.S. infant restraint, which is the model for subsequent ones, did not use a tether in either direction nor a shoulder belt, but it worked very well. During development, the engineers observed that it turned over toward the vehicle seatback after a crash test and, largely in order to justify what happened anyway, they called this the "cocoon effect." There was also some justifiable concern that the small infant's neck might be injured on rebound or rear-impact unless the restraint were allowed to freely rotate in this direction. Justified or not, this concept has remained and seems to make intuitive sense. The counter-argument that the infant's head will "slam" into the seatback and be injured on rebound has not been validated in over 30 years of crash experience."
    Ok, that helps a lot, and makes sense. Thank you!

  7. #46
    Moderator - CPST Instructor snowbird25ca's Avatar
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    Re: Chicaco Tribune Article (3/1/09) Titled "Car seat tests reveal 'flaws'"

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer mom to my 7 View Post

    We are already seeing it on other boards. So far they haven't looked for help yet, but the birth boards seem to be heading toward not erf because of it. I guess we will see as time goes on. But, like I said before, if the infant seats don't hold, and so much force is being exerted on the infants, what about those same 9+ month olds that are already ff.......and if they are ff at that age, do we really think they are using a top tether? scary stuff imo.
    I don't want to imagine those same forces on a ff infant.
    This really doesn't make sense to me. Are they freaking out because of the rebound or the legs? Perhaps they need to see a crash test of a child in a ff'ing child and see how the legs fly forward and back so violently that the lower portion of the dummy's legs actually flip back up with such force that the knees bend backwards - an action that a human child's knees could never do without severe injury. I don't remember the exact statistic right now - I want to say 27% but I don't recall if it's slightly less than that - but it's for sure over 25%, of all ff'ing injuries are lower leg injuries. We don't see that happening in rf'ing seats. So if people are freaking out because of the rebound they're seeing in those videos, it's a very very sad thing.

    At the tech course we ran a week ago there was a video of the nautilus. The seat was within the values to meet standards in the video, so the movement seen wasn't "abnormal." Yet the lower legs flipped back up with such force that you could see the knees rotate down while the legs went up. I'm not sure I'm describing it exactly right, but suffice it to say that human legs don't move that way...

    It's unfortunate if people are drawing the conclusion that it's dangerous to erf when there is no such comment that should lead to that conclusion being drawn. And perhaps what's worse, is that the people who figure it doesn't hurt to turn their 10 mo old ff'ing can only learn the hard way if they're unfortunate enough to have a crash. Imagine having just turned your 10mo old ff'ing, having a major collision, and the kid being fatally injured. That would be unbelievable guilt.
    Trudy - Canadian CPSAC certified CRST Instructor-Trainer and mommy to:
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  8. #47
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Chicago Tribune Article (3/1/09) Titled "Car seat tests reveal 'flaws'"

    I often read the online comments on the Trib, and this story brought out the Freakonomics thing again. A person commented about the "study" that found that carseats are not effective for children over a certain age, and how much money the carseat manufacturers make based on parents' paranoia. My response:

    Lol - a "rather meticulously researched article" that is "available somewhere on the Internet." Umm, yeah. Have you actually read the Freakonomics "study?" Have you read the results of the research done by the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia? Or did you just throw your pesky car seats out based on an economist's hot air (who was trying to sell a book, btw)?

    Maybe not the most constructive response but I was so annoyed.

  9. #48
    CPS Technician crunchierthanthou's Avatar
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    Re: Chicago Tribune Article (3/1/09) Titled "Car seat tests reveal 'flaws'"

    Quote Originally Posted by bobandjess99 View Post
    And for example, in at least 1 of the tests, the dummy's head was well OVER the shell of the seat, so that rigth there is blatant misuse.
    Quote Originally Posted by LISmama810 View Post
    Also, in some of those tests, it looks like the dummy's head is even with or above the shells of the seats, possibly causing over-rotation, or at least adding to the likelihood that the child's head would hit the front seat.
    but not all manuals state the 1" rule. it may have fallen under proper use as long as the dummy was within the weight and overall height requirements.

    out of curiosity I just looked at the ones available online- Chicco and Britax state the 1" rule (I'll assume Evenflo because that's where it originated). Combi and Peg Perego say head even with the top of the seat. Graco and Baby Trend don't mention it at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer mom to my 7 View Post
    ANd someone on another board asked, did they use brand new seats each crash? or just continue to use the same ones?
    the article mentions 66 tests and there certainly aren't that many infant seats on the market. It also references 6 tests for the SS1. my guess is they tested 11 models of infant seats in 6 vehicles with a new seat each time.

  10. #49
    CPS Technician An Aurora's Avatar
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    Re: Chicago Tribune Article (3/1/09) Titled "Car seat tests reveal 'flaws'"

    Just a quick note, not all Combi seats were recalled. Only the Centre, Centre ARB (10/2005-12/2007 DOM) and Shuttle (same DOM) were recalled. Also, the Tyro does not have an ARB. It has a RF'ing tether. The Shuttle and Centre have ARB.
    Anna~ RN and expired CPST (hoping to recert soon!)

  11. #50
    Admin - CPS Technician Emeritus UlrikeDG's Avatar
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    Re: Chicago Tribune Article (3/1/09) Titled "Car seat tests reveal 'flaws'"

    Quote Originally Posted by kaylee18 View Post
    No, actually, the laws of physics tell us that a car running into a wall at 35 MPH involves only one-fourth the energy of two cars running into each other if both are moving at 35 MPH. That's why frontal collisions tend to be much worse than rear-enders: no one drives in reverse at 35 MPH all the time.


    Force equals mass times acceleration (F=ma). Two objects with equal mass traveling in opposite directions at the same speed should stop almost instantaneously. One object hitting another stationary, immovable object should stop almost instantaneously. If acceleration (what we'd call "deceleration", but in the world of physics, acceleration is just change in velocity, so slowing down or speeding up are both "acceleration")... if acceleration is identical and mass is identical, then force will be equal.

    Now, obviously in the real world, mass will never be exactly the same, and there will almost always be some degree of offset. However, the principle holds. A passenger inside a vehicle that hits a solid barrier going 35 mph should experience the similar force on his/her body as he/she would if that vehicle hit another vehicle with the same mass head-on, assuming both vehicles were traveling at 35 mph at the time of the crash.

    A vehicle traveling at 35 mph that hits a movable object, such as a parked car, will transfer a great deal of that kinetic energy to that second object, moving it and greatly reducing the amount of force transferred to any passengers inside the vehicle.
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  12. #51
    CPS Technician Qarin's Avatar
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    Re: Chicago Tribune Article (3/1/09) Titled "Car seat tests reveal 'flaws'"

    This link talks about almost this math problem:

    http://mathforum.org/library/drmath/view/60747.html

    Except that the question it addresses is 35mph head on with another car at 35mph vs. a car driving 70mph into a wall; halving the into-a-wall portion of the question, so that it's 35mph into a wall, assuming that wall is totally solid, his calculations would put the wall-hit at 2x the energy of the two-car-hit (assuming cars of equal mass and crumpleability).
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  13. #52
    Senior Community Member o_mom's Avatar
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    Re: Chicago Tribune Article (3/1/09) Titled "Car seat tests reveal 'flaws'"

    From that link, it appears we are talking about kinetic engergy, not force. He also says it could be anywhere from 0 to 4 times more. I think NHTSA is saying they are about the same for simplicity's sake. This also jives with what Safe Ride News released after the CR mess. That increases in velocity cause exponential increases in force: http://web.archive.org/web/200702031...P_testing.html

    "2) The 30 mph change in velocity of the NHTSA sled test required for child restraints is, itself, more severe than 97 percent of real-world frontal crashes. It is approximately the same as two similar sized vehicles colliding head-on at 30 mph or a vehicle going 60 mph into a parked car. In the latter scenario, the vehicle hits the parked car at 60 mph, accelerates the parked car to 30 mph, and continues forward at reduced speed of 30 mph, so the change in velocity for the passengers is 30 mph.

    People get hurt when the change in velocity happens very fast, like hitting the brick wall, unless a restraint system helps slow them down. When a vehicle brakes to a stop from 30 mph, no one gets hurt because it happens over a long period of time.

    3) Simulating the frontal NCAP crash on a sled is done by setting the speed of the test sled at 35 mph. The bench with the child restraint installed faces squarely forward. This test is the equivalent of hitting an immovable wall at 35 mph. Although the difference in speed between a 30-mph test (required for car seats to pass FMVSS 213) and a 35-mph test (used by CU) is only about 16%, the change in force (energy) is much greater—36 percent. This is because the force changes exponentially, meaning the energy goes up with the square of the speed (velocity). "

  14. #53
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    Re: Chicago Tribune Article (3/1/09) Titled "Car seat tests reveal 'flaws'"

    Quote Originally Posted by romanoma View Post
    no one has pointed out what didn't happen. While I'm sure the study was flawed and it's impossible to determine a "bad" seat from a study like this, it's nice to know the snugride didn't ever come off, and it seemed to be the most tested seat. That makes me feel pretty good about having a snugride (again, not that the SS is unsafe...)
    I agree that reproducibility is very important in determining if study results are valid. Too bad in this instance, each test is so expensive!
    Thank you. I got a lot of long time members pissed at me cuz I said something similar after the CR test came out. I don't care if it only happens in 1% of all crashes. There are drunks everywhere. And not every road I drive has a divider so a head on crash is a real possibility for me. It's why I rear face my kid past the minimum. Poop happens. I don't care if it's supposedly "survivable" or not (people all the time get told that it was a miracle they survived some crash). When talking about the SnugRide, the CR test wasn't "flawed" in such a way as to discount the SnugRide staying put. Basically, the SnugRide is overqualified. That doesn't mean the test is totally useless. It just tells me the SnugRide is damned secure. Hell, every other seat needs to step up their game. None of this "it meets minimum standards" crap. Yeah, everyone shoot for a D instead of an A cuz a D is a passing grade! If that cheapass SnugRide can handle an "unsurvivable" crash, why the hell can't all the other ones?

    And don't get me started on the Kyle Miller video.

  15. #54
    Car-Seat.Org Zealot skaterbabs's Avatar
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    Re: Chicago Tribune Article (3/1/09) Titled "Car seat tests reveal 'flaws'"

    My biggest beef with recommending the SR over the SS1 is that in my experience the SR is not nearly as idiot-proof as the SS1, and it's incompatible with more vehicles.
    Rebekah Branch, CPST from May 2005 until June 2011
    Mom to CJ (7/96, seatbelt), Gregory (4/98, seatbelt), & Joyjoy (10/03, misc. booster seats)
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  16. #55
    Senior Community Member Evolily's Avatar
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    Re: Chicago Tribune Article (3/1/09) Titled "Car seat tests reveal 'flaws'"

    For the physics question- there is a simple, nonscientific way to see how it works

    If you take both of your hands, move them together at about the same speed, and let them collide, you'll notice that they both stop immediately on impact (Unless, of course, one was moving faster than the other or you have one hand that weighs a great deal more than the other). That's the same as two 35 mph cars, carrying the same weight, hitting each other. Now take one hand, and hit it into the wall. You'll notice that your hand, again, stops on impact, and your wall doesn't move. This is the same as hitting a car into a wall. Assuming your hand is moving at the same speed both times, in both situations the impact on your hand is the same, because in both times it stops on impact.

    Now, if you take one hand and hold it in one place, and hit that hand with your other hand, you will displace the stationary hand. This is similar to hitting a parked car or using a test sled.

    Make sense?

  17. #56
    CPS Technician April's Avatar
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    Re: Chicago Tribune Article (3/1/09) Titled "Car seat tests reveal 'flaws'"

    Quote Originally Posted by bobandjess99 View Post
    This study aside, I have never felt comfortable using infant seats with bases. It's just one more thing that could possibly go wrong, and it scares me.
    For your average parent? I'm not sure....does the risk of them not installing the seat securely with seatbelt every time outweigh the risk of a base hookup failure? maybe? probably, in fact...(unless they had an old combi centre.) But for me personally? If I ever choose to use an infant bucket, I'd use the seatbelt to strap it in, every time.
    It's sort of like when we start talking abotu LATCH limits and whether the weight is carseat plus kid or just kid, and whether the latch anchors can withstand the force, and every time, it ends up that we say "when in doubt,use the seatbelt" because the seatbelt is teated with a whatever 200 pound person dummy, and it's going to hold....but that's me.
    I'm personally more comfortable with a seatbelt as well. Not to say there aren't things that can happen there as well...I might be swayed to consider latch if I were installing in say, an older model Grand Caravan with Gen 3 belts, but I'd likely still lean towards installing without the base. Now if I were to let someone else transport my child, I'd likely install the base and show them how to click it in. I know I can install an infant carrier correctly without a base 100% of the time, but I wouldn't trust anyone else to do it. And of course if I couldn't get a good install with the seatbelt, I'd try latch, but in that order. Then again, I've never had a problem installing a ff Radian with a seatbelt in ANY vehicle.

    Quote Originally Posted by snowbird25ca View Post
    At the tech course we ran a week ago there was a video of the nautilus. The seat was within the values to meet standards in the video, so the movement seen wasn't "abnormal." Yet the lower legs flipped back up with such force that you could see the knees rotate down while the legs went up. I'm not sure I'm describing it exactly right, but suffice it to say that human legs don't move that way...
    I think the word you are looking for is hyperextension and/or hyperextended. I did that to my knee once when I was a competitive gymnast, and have permanent knee damage from it.

    Carry on now folks
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  18. #57
    CPSDarren - Admin SafeDad's Avatar
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    Re: Chicago Tribune Article (3/1/09) Titled "Car seat tests reveal 'flaws'"

    Quote Originally Posted by kaylee18 View Post
    No, actually, the laws of physics tell us that a car running into a wall at 35 MPH involves only one-fourth the energy of two cars running into each other if both are moving at 35 MPH. That's why frontal collisions tend to be much worse than rear-enders: no one drives in reverse at 35 MPH all the time.
    Ulrike is correct in terms of the energy that is transferred to the passengers.

    Kinetic energy has a vector associated with the velocity component of each vehicle. Two cars of moving toward each other have a net kinetic energy that is double that of a single car. Moving in opposite directions, this vector cancels when the two objects impact, resulting in no net motion as the cars crumple to absorb all the kinetic energy. So, the forces seen by either vehicle are the same is if it had crashed into a fixed barrier.

    http://www.safercar.gov/portal/site/...d17898RCRD#iq8

  19. #58
    CPSDarren - Admin SafeDad's Avatar
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    Re: Chicaco Tribune Article (3/1/09) Titled "Car seat tests reveal 'flaws'"

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer mom to my 7 View Post
    See, but I still don't think that crashing a car into a wall at 35 mph simulates a real life crash, unless you are crashing into a brick wall.
    It is identical to a head-on crash with an identical vehicle heading in the opposite direction at the same speed. The IIHS does an offset crash that varies somewhat. Together, these closely resemble the majority of serious crashes. Of course, actual crashes are never with identical vehicles traveling at exactly the same speed head-on, but it's impossible to test every possible variation.

  20. #59
    CPSDarren - Admin SafeDad's Avatar
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    Re: Chicaco Tribune Article (3/1/09) Titled "Car seat tests reveal 'flaws'"

    Quote Originally Posted by Kecia View Post
    On the other hand, if the seat(s) really weren't installed properly by the "highly trained technicians" - what hope does the average parent have of getting it right?
    Exactly. Can you imagine the results if misuse had been a factor? Even if a mistake was made in one or more tests by an experienced technician, you know it would be a lot worse with the average parent that we see at checkup events. It's pretty awful to blame the results on improper installation by a technician when the real world is going to be a lot worse in that regard. The fact is that some seats didn't separate. Unless serious mistakes were made in only a certain number of tests, I'm not seeing the point in passing the buck in this manner.

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    Re: Chicaco Tribune Article (3/1/09) Titled "Car seat tests reveal 'flaws'"

    Quote Originally Posted by CPSDarren View Post
    Of course, actual crashes are never with identical vehicles traveling at exactly the same speed head-on, but it's impossible to test every possible variation.
    Other than the possible misuse issue, isn't this proof that it's ok to test car seats for safety? Yeah, you can't cover every variable, but testing is better than not testing. If you have some minimum standard to try and better, that can only be good for the consumer.

    We can work on the misuse. That's a separate issue that is more about educating. But we still want to make sure seats get safer and safer.

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